As Columbus continues to restructure High Street, many find it hard to say goodbye to elements they have grown to love. Gateway has been a part of High Street for over 10 years, and when High Street transforms, the gateway must transform as well. It seems like every bar on campus is slowly becoming a nightclub, which makes it hard to just sit and enjoy a drink every now and then. Gateway did not just want to just bring new concepts to campus but also bring back some old concepts in an innovative way. The manager of Gateway, Christiana Moffa, saw this problem and teamed up with Dan Starek to bring us a solution. Meet Leo’s on the Alley.
Starek previously managed Eddie George’s Bar and Grill, so he is very familiar with the traditions of High Street. When TRISM did not take the back alley portion of the building, Moffa saw it as the perfect opportunity for Starek to bring the nostalgic vision to life. As a former OSU student, Dan remembers what the bars used to be like. He loves the Columbus nightlife because there is always something for every person to do, but with High Street changing, hole in the wall bars are going away. To the owners, Leo’s is not just a bar where you can drink and feel at home, it is a safe place for everyone—a place where girls can feel safe dancing with their friends without being pressed up against strange guys, a place where you can order in your own favorite drunk food and eat in, a place where everybody knows your name (cue Cheers theme song).
As a bar, Leo’s is a home that welcomes all. You walk in the door and you hear oldies playing in the background mixing perfectly with the sounds of soft conversations and pool cues hitting pool balls. The walls mixed with the friendly staff are like arms that grab you close when you walk in making you feel welcomed, warmed, accepted. The bar staff is so friendly you get the feeling you are not just money traded for a drink, but you are a person, which they care to get into a conversation with before even mentioning your drink. Leo’s is just busy enough to where you do not feel alone but you are never feeling surrounded by people you don’t want to be sharing personal space with. To me, this place is my house with more TV’s, a place where I can get together with my friends and not have to yell to make them hear me. From the first day it opened, Leo’s has shown me that at the end of the day, it is not trying to be anything other than a campus watering hole, a place to kick back and have a drink.